Antonia takes helm of 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div
June 29, 2009
Another page has been added to the storied history of 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) as, outgoing commander, Col. Mark A. Dewhurst, handed over the reigns of command to, incoming commander Col. Bruce P. Antonia in a change of command ceremony June 19 at Honor Field.
The brigade stood at attention as the ceremony began with the pure tones of brass and drums by the 10th Mountain Division Band as they provided a rich musical backdrop to the ceremony.
With the inspection and passing of colors complete, Maj. Gen. Michael L. Oates, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and Fort Drum commanding general and senior commander for the ceremony, said a few words.
"It's appropriate for us to recognize these two great officers as they change command and in particular recognize this outstanding brigade combat team," said Oates.
He said that he had not had a chance to see them since he was last in Iraq. "I'd like you to know how terribly proud I am of each and every one of you for your outstanding contributions in this last deployment. You certainly left Iraq a much better place than you found it," said Oates.
In turn, he recognized the other half of the team. "In these times of recurring deployments, it places stress and strain on the spouses. They are outstanding and we could not sustain this war without their tremendous efforts," said Oates.
Oates said he also wanted Polk's surrounding communities to know how much they are appreciated. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the local community around Fort Polk. They wrap their arms around this combat team and their Families and sustain them on deployments and while they are here on post. I really do appreciate your support for these Soldiers," said Oates.
Oates' remarks came full circle as he addressed the officers who changed command. "I have nothing but the highest regard for Colonel Dewhurst. His outstanding leadership of personal and professional investment in this organization was absolutely what was necessary to reset the brigade combat team and conduct a superlative mission."
He then told the incoming commander Antonia that he had his absolute confidence. "The Army continues to send superb leaders to take over brigade combat teams. You're going to have the ride of your life. I know you'll be outstanding," said Oates.
Dewhurst paid homage to his Soldiers and leaders for the blood, sweat and tears that they shared. "Throughout our deployment, I was continuously inspired and awed by your resilience, determination, professionalism and how you went about your mission," said Dewhurst.
He took a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of fallen Soldiers and wounded warriors -- stating that they would not be forgotten. "Our efforts were not in vain. I am convinced that we made a difference in Baghdad," said Dewhurst.
His comments were then directed to the Patriot Brigade's new commander. "I hope you sustain and build upon our few successes, but more importantly, fix all of my failures. I know you will take this brigade to the next level while adding another chapter to our history," said Dewhurst.
Antonia closed the ceremony. "We've been here about two weeks and have loved every minute of it. Out in the community and here on Fort Polk we are having a great time," said Antonia.
He said that he would bring the same style of leadership that every good leader in the Army brings -- that of teamwork, because it's about what's best for the organization. "Colonel Dewhurst did a great job getting the brigade set for me to come in and now we are going to go into a period of training for whatever may come next," he said.
Antonia addressed his Soldiers. "You have a well-deserved reputation and I am humbled and honored to be a part of your organization. You have my word that I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be -- 100 percent and then some. Forged for war, climb to glory," said Antonia.